FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 4
Welcome to our weekly FanDuel NFL primer, where we give you an overview of the Sunday main slate to help you get started on your research.
As always, we recommend checking out all of numberFire's daily fantasy tools at your disposal. In particular, our weekly projections can help you nail down who might be the slate's top scorers and best values, while the heat map is a great way to get a general overview of the slate's implied totals and every team's strengths and weaknesses.
Now, let's run through some of this week's top plays of the slate.
Update: The Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots game has been postponed and is expected to be played on Monday or Tuesday. Cam Newton has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not play this week.
Lamar Jackson ($9,600 on FanDuel): We have an embarrassment of riches at quarterback this week due to a whopping seven different games exceeding a 50-point total. Between the plethora of options and Lamar Jackson coming off a pair of fantasy duds, this could be a rare opportunity to get Jackson at a lower roster percentage than usual. Only Cam Newton has more rushing attempts at the position, and the next spike week could always be right around the corner. While the over/under doesn't crack that aforementioned 50-point barrier, Baltimore still owns a robust 29.75 implied team total against Washington, and the Football Team gave up a healthy 33.14 FanDuel points to fellow rushing quarterback Kyler Murray in Week 2.
Dak Prescott ($8,200): As the sixth-most expensive quarterback, Dak Prescott projects as the top point-per-dollar signal-caller against Cleveland. This game has the highest total (56.5) of the slate, as we can expect to find the Cowboys in yet another shootout after trading blows with the Seahawks and Falcons the past two weeks. No team is playing at as fast a pace as Dallas, and with their pass defense struggling, Prescott should continue to see a high volume of passes every week. He's thrown for 472 and 450 yards the past two weeks and now leads the league in both passing yards and attempts.
Deshaun Watson ($7,800): It kind of feels like Deshaun Watson has been a forgotten man in fantasy after enduring tough matchups against the Ravens and Steelers, but it could be time to hop back on board in a far easier draw versus the Vikings. Houston is favored at home against a Minnesota defense that places just 24th in adjusted pass defense, per numberFire's metrics, and this is another spot with an enormous total (54.5). Watson hasn't quite as active on the ground thus far, but last season, he ranked fourth in rushing attempts among quarterbacks and scored seven rushing touchdowns.
Ezekiel Elliott ($9,000): Among running backs, no one has a higher snap rate (92.8%) than Ezekiel Elliott, who is averaging 19.3 carries and 7.3 targets per game. He continues to see volume that few even come close to, and he's a no-brainer play as a home favorite in the game with the slate's highest over/under.
Alvin Kamara ($8,800): Alvin Kamara leads all backs in targets by a wide margin (10.3 per game), which has amounted to a 30.4% target share. That's simply absurd for a running back. Targets are essentially worth twice the value of carries on FanDuel, giving Kamara quite the workload when you tack on his 10.3 rushes per game. One would assume Kamara's target share dips if Michael Thomas returns, but Drew Brees has only made three deep attempts all season, per PFF, so this offense will almost certainly continue to funnel through Kamara. Sunday's New Orleans-Detroit contest checks in with a 54.0-point total.
David Johnson ($6,700): Yeah, it's probably hard to feel super great about rostering David Johnson, but he's the only other running back besides Elliott to see a snap rate cracking 90%. He's averaging a mediocre 11.7 carries and 3.7 targets per game, but much of that has to do with the Texans getting thoroughly outplayed by tougher competition -- they rank 31st in both plays per game and time of possession. They'll have an easier time moving the ball against Minnesota, and Johnson actually owns the slate's sixth-best market share of opportunities among running backs. Duke Johnson is practicing and should be back this week, but the two Johnsons were used in tandem a lot in Week 1, so it may not significantly hurt David's opportunities.
Myles Gaskin ($5,400): Last Thursday, we saw Myles Gaskin blow up for 22 rushes and 5 targets with a season-high 75.4% snap rate, which should immediately have us interested at such a low salary. Gaskin projects as the best value at the position, and with his work in the passing game, he should remain involved in a high-scoring game (54.5 total) against Seattle as long as Miami can stay within striking distance. The one thing that prevents him from being a must-have in your lineups is his lack of assured goal-line work. Jordan Howard has eight rushes inside the five-yard line compared to just one for Gaskin.
DeAndre Hopkins ($8,700): We haven't really talked about Arizona yet, another team involved in a high-total matchup (51.0). DeAndre Hopkins leads all wideouts on the board with a 35.9% target share while also carrying a robust 33.0% air yards share. He's projected for the most FanDuel points at the position by a sizable amount. However, Hopkins has missed practice this week, so his status is a little iffy entering the weekend.
Tyler Lockett ($7,500) and D.K. Metcalf ($6,900): Wait, is this Week 3 all over again? Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf are once again fantastic plays as Russell Wilson's top targets in a positive game environment, and they still project as solid point-per-dollar values despite seeing modest salary bumps. Lockett gets the edge in target share (29.6%) while Metcalf soaks up the air yards (47.3%).
Odell Beckham ($6,600): Baker Mayfield hasn't exactly been slinging it around the past couple weeks, with just 23 pass attempts in each of the last two games. However, the Browns probably won't be able to play that way as road underdogs in a pace-up game against the Cowboys, and that should mean more opportunities for Odell Beckham. Beckham owns a 28.2% target share and 44.7% air yards share, and when Mayfield attempted 39 passes in a negative game script against Baltimore (Week 1), it resulted in 10 targets for Beckham. The Cowboys are dealing with injuries in the secondary and rank just 28th in adjusted pass defense.
Tyler Boyd ($6,000): With all these other games sporting tantalizing totals, the 49.5-point mark we see between Jacksonville and Cincinnati might fly under the radar. The Jaguars rank 32nd in adjusted pass defense, and Tyler Boyd in particular draws an excellent individual matchup in the secondary. He's seen his targets trending in the right direction, garnering a team-high 13 in Week 3, which is hopefully the sign of an improving connection with Joe Burrow. Boyd projects as a top wide receiver value.
Darren Waller ($6,700): Even after a dud against New England, no tight end in the league can touch Darren Waller's 29.8% target share, and he even ranks second in air yards share (24.3%) for Las Vegas. With Bryan Edwards ruled out and Henry Ruggs also unlikely to play, Waller will get peppered with targets practically by default, and Buffalo has ranked just 26th in Target Success Rate allowed to tight ends. And yes, this is yet another one of those spots with a lofty total (52.5).
Logan Thomas ($4,900): It's Logan Thomas who has the second-highest target share at tight end (24.2%), and while it hasn't translated to a big game yet, it's hard to ask for much more volume at this salary. The matchup might appear brutal against Baltimore, but they actually rank 30th in Target Success Rate versus the position, so there's some hope here. The ceiling is questionable with Dwayne Haskins at the helm, but Thomas' production should improve if he keeps getting this many looks.
Los Angeles Rams D/ST ($4,800): The Baltimore D/ST ($5,000) is great if you can afford their services, but the Rams' defense is also in a mighty good spot against the Giants as 13.0-point home favorites. Only the Jets have performed worse than the Giants in schedule-adjusted offense, and the game script should lead to sacks and potential turnovers from Daniel Jones.
Cincinnati D/ST ($3,400): In the bargain bin, we can consider the Bengals against the Jaguars, who pop up as one of the top values in our projections. Cincinnati is favored at home, and the higher total of this game could actually be beneficial, as it would mean more chances for Gardner Minshew to make mistakes. While Cincinnati isn't a high-regarded defense, they've actually held their own in the early going -- albeit against mediocre competition -- ranking 11th against the pass and 11th overall in numberFire's defense rankings.